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Industrial espionage hits the small entrepreneurial firms and the large players. If there is a good idea or product out there, attacker feel it is fair game.

Just ask German auto giant Volkswagen.

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The auto company is the victim of industrial espionage in China, where charges are flying its local partner stolen engine designs.

For several months now, Chinese group FAW — with which VW has a joint venture — is believed to have copied one of the German group’s engines in what sources described as “systematic and planned” espionage, a published report said.

Cyber Security

FAW plans to sell a model equipped with the engines in Russia, in competition with VW and Skoda models, the report continued.

“It’s quite simply a catastrophe,” one VW manager said.

China is VW’s most important export market and it sold 2.26 million cars there last year.

China does not allow foreign automakers to build their own cars there but requires them to work together with domestic companies in joint ventures where the Chinese partner holds the majority stake.

“We’re examining the issue very closely,” a VW spokesman said. “On the other hand, we’ve always worked together with FAW very successfully and very trustfully in the past.”

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